Marvel Monsters Vol. 1 & 2: The Silver Age of Comic Book Creatures!

 

Monsters

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been an avid fan of Marvel Comics. Though I didn’t mind watching the DC “Super Friends” on Saturday mornings nor seeing Linda Carter twirl into “Wonder Woman” via prime time, I was completely “brand loyal” to Marvel when it came to print. I collected all the Spider-man, X-Men, and Avengers titles but particularly loved the more obscure ROM: Spaceknight which I discussed years ago here and, more recently, in Scary Monsters Magazine. Aside from being a throwback to vintage sci-fi films, ROM regularly featured something the other titles didn’t: namely, giant monsters! And if there’s one thing this overgrown kid loves more than just about anything, it’s a decent monster. Years before Marvel would revolutionize the world of super heroes, they were a very different company. In fact, many of their titles resembled the works of another favored brand of mine, EC Comics. “Tales to Astonish,” “Journey into Mystery,” and “Strange Tales” would not only see the first appearance of several popular, modern day superheroes such as Ant-Man, but also a slew of amazing monsters created by such titans in the industry as Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby. Sadly, by the time I was born, these comics were long gone but, thanks to two amazing books, I can finally enjoy them without spending an arm and a leg in the secondary market. Earlier this year, Marvel released MONSTERS Volumes 1 & 2 which has not only brightened up my Omnibus collection but puts a big smile on my face every time I open one.

 

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The Marvel Monsterbus books reprint stories from the aforementioned titles along with a few neat embellishments. Each hardcover book boasts a whopping 872 pages chock full of the trio’s imaginative creations along with fun stories depicting everything from alien invasions (Jack Kirby was said to have had a fascination with extraterrestrials) to atomic goliaths!

Most of the creatures have names as unique as their design which is why it should come as no surprise that Groot made his debut here as well. Of course this Groot bears little resemblance to the one we’ve all grown to love and seems a lot more From Hell it Came than he does Guardians of the Galaxy.

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 (NOTE: THOR Ragnarok spoilers this paragraph only) Groot’s not the only Marvel monster to break out of what is commonly referred to as their “pre-super hero period.” A certain dragon that made a brief appearance in the latest THOR film, Fin Fang Foom, also got his start here. His moniker is illustrative of the kind of fun Stan Lee had with naming some of his monsters while obviously having no idea people would still be talking about them 60 years later.

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And speaking of names, I was also surprised to see that Marvel had a “Hulk” years before Bruce Banner would make one synonymous with “Incredible.” There was also another Magneto and a Thorr (only with two “r’s”).

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While both volumes reprint stories from the Silver Age of Comics (1956-1970), there’s also bonus covers featured at the end of Volume 1 from the Bronze Age (1970-1985) as well. This proves Marvel always kept true to their roots despite the success of their main titles.

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Other fun extras include storyboards as well as modern renderings of some of their more notable beasts.

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Like all the Marvel Omnibus books, these are beautifully bound and sturdy. When you remove the dust jackets, you get some bonus art rather than just a plain title.

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I give Marvel credit for releasing these collections which are obviously designed for monster fans such as ourselves!

I hope all my fellow adult monster kids will consider adding these to your collection. We’ll always have superheroes to save the day but nothing rescues you from a dull evening better than monsters!

~Dave Fuentes

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